Tuesday, 4 May 2021



COMMITMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY – An interview with Ulrike Freitag in the anniversary booklet of the Philipp Schwartz-Initiative


In 2021, the Philipp Schwartz-Initiative by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is celebrating its fifth anniversary. It has been granting funding to universities and research institutions in Germany to host threatened researchers for a period of up to two years since 2016. ZMO hosted already a number of Philipp Schwartz Fellows and its director Ulrike Freitag has been an academic mentor to many of them. In the interview, she speaks about challenges, bureaucratic hurdles and why it can be particularly hard for fellows in the humanities to find a foothold after their scholarship ends. "We provide sup­port in the form of intensive coaching in formulating appli­cations to organisations like the DFG or Humboldt Founda­tion", says Freitag.


6 May 2021, 3 pm, virtual event
Women and public space in Turkey: a gendered history of participation and democratic practices
Lecture by Selda Tuncer (Yüzüncü Yıl University, Van) as part of the "The Historicity of Democracy Seminar"


Based on a critical feminist understanding of the Turkish modernity experience, this lecture focuses on the period between 1950 and 1980, a more mature phase of the Turkish modernization process. Selda Tuncer analyzes how middle-class women of different generations participated in new forms of everyday public life in the modernizing capital city. In contrast with trends of the scholarship on women and public space in the region focusing on veiled women, S. Tuncer devotes her attention to women struggling in their daily life in a society both predominantly Muslim society and organized according to secular principles. The lecture will thus explore how women’s urban experience and everyday participation were shaped by patriarchal traditions as well as social and moral codes of public behaviour that are intrinsic to both religious and secular ideologies.
For registration, please send an email to HISDEMAB@gmail.com

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10 May 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
Revolutionary Pasts. Communist Internationalism in Colonial India
Book presentation by Ali Raza (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan)


This book charts the lives, geographies, and anti-colonial struggles of Indian revolutionaries and how they sought to remake the world. Driven by the utopian dreams of Communist Internationalism, these individuals yearned for a revolutionary upheaval that would overthrow European imperialisms and global capitalism. Ali Raza presents this story from the vantage point of key revolutionary figures who created a ‘communism of the everyday’ in South Asia.
Ali Raza is a historian of South Asia and Associate Professor for history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. His research and teaching interests include the social and intellectual history of modern South Asia, comparative colonialisms, decolonization, and post-colonial theory.

Please register at registration@zmo.de

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18 May 2021, 6 pm, virtual event
Launch of 3al-Janib
Newspaper presentation by the research project "Liminal Spaces"


3al-Janib (‘ala -l-janib or ‘on the side’) tells stories from the margins about moments where the world around us can be reimagined differently. These liminal moments, when individuals or groups decide to bend formal regulations and rethink the use of resources around them, are moments where new social relations and knowledge are forged, and alternative conceptualisations of a brighter future are introduced. The newspaper format allows for the drafts and the notes that are already present in the different research projects on which the publication builds, and which were part of a collaborative effort by partners in Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Germany entitled Liminal Spaces as Sites of Socio-Cultural Transformation and Knowledge Production in the Arab World (funded by Volkswagen Foundation).

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26 May 2021, 10 am, virtual event
The Gapar Aitiev Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts, the Memomusor Project and the ‘trashification’ of historical memory
Lecture by Lilit Dabagian, organised by the research unit Representations of the Past in cooperation with the Leibniz Research Alliance "Wert der Vergangenheit".


The lecture and discussion will be held in Russian language!

Lilit Dabagian is an independent media researcher and works as a freelance project designer and workshop leader in the field of intergenerational memory projects within the "post-socialist" space. As part of the online history camp "Coping with Painful Pasts" (2020), funded by the Körber Foundation, she worked with young participants from Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova on constructive and creative ways of coming to terms with the past.
Please register at david.leupold@zmo.de

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27 May 2021, 3 pm, virtual event
Claims for humanitarian sovereignty, forms of political participation and the question of democracy in 20th century Egypt
Lecture by Esther Möller (Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz) as part of the "The Historicity of Democracy Seminar"


The presentation discusses humanitarian aid as a form of political participation in 20th century Egypt. By stressing Egyptian humanitarian groups as active players and not only passive recipients of aid during the many crises the country had to face, it is argued that this also contributed to the political engagement of different groups and for different reasons and thus to further negotiate the question of democracy in Egypt. The main argument is that the claims for humanitarian sovereignty that these groups expressed were not only an expression of Egyptian self-determination towards external forces, but also of anti-colonial solidarity in the region and finally a response to popular movements within the country.
For registration, please send an email to HISDEMAB@gmail.com

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27 May 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
Emotive Circulation: 19th Century Islamophobia in Anglophone Newspapers in India and the United States
Lecture by Peter Gottschalk (Wesleyan University, USA) as part of the ZMO Colloquium


Through a globalizing newspaper network, the British empire served as a vector for ideas and emotions promoting Islamophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment, and religious tolerance in ways still evident today. Anglophone newspapers published in India, Britain, and the United States in the nineteenth century reflected both the imaginaries and the emotions that helped constitute, reinforce, and challenge normative regimes of social belonging and religious commitment. The continuous interface among Anglophone newspapers that coalesced into a global and globalizing network resulting directly from (and often were supportive of) the operations of the British empire.

Please register at registration@zmo.de

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31 May 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
Spaces of Participation: Dynamics of Social and Political Change in the Arab World
Book presentation with the editors Randa Aboubakr (Cairo University), Sarah Jurkiewicz (ZMO), Yazid Anani (A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah) and Ulrike Freitag (ZMO)


Where do people meet, form relations of trust, and begin debating social and political issues? Where do social movements start? In this fascinating collection, scholars and activists from a wealth of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, anthropology, history, and political science, take a fresh look at these questions and the factors leading to political and social change in the Arab world from a spatial perspective. Based on original field work in Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, and Palestine, Spaces of Participation connects and reconnects social, cultural, and political participation with urban space. It explores timely themes such as formal and informal spaces of participation, alternative spaces of cultural production, space reclamation, and cultural activism, and the reconfiguring of space through different types of contestation.
Please register at registration@zmo.de

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Summer Semester 2021, starting on 5 May 2021, 2 pm
Berlin Anthropology Seminars Summer 2021
Organised by Kai Kresse, Judith Albrecht, Paola Ivanov, Claudia Liebelt and Jonas Bens


This seminar series constitutes a joint initiative by anthropologists from FU Berlin, ZMO, and Ethnologisches Museum. It intends to shape and cultivate an inclusive platform and open regular meeting point for exchange and discussion on current research by Berlin based anthropologists. Please spread the word among colleagues, junior or senior, who may be interested.
For further questions contact lisa.maier@fu-berlin.de

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Tenders & Calls

Call for Chapters
The Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds

In the framework of the HISDEMAB research project on the historicity of democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds, funded by the Leibniz-Association, we are welcoming original chapters for a collective book edited by Nora Lafi (ZMO). The authors will be invited to present their chapter in a workshop in Berlin in March 2022.
Abstract deadline: 9 July 2021


Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
orient bulletin. History, Society and Culture in Asia, the Middle East and Africa


orient bulletin no. 39, April 2021, 8 pp.




Abdoulaye Sounaye
Ritual Space and Religion.
Young West African Muslims in Berlin, Germany


In: Meyer, Birgit; van der Veer, Peter (Ed.).Refugees and Religion. Ethnographic Studies of Global Trajectories  . Bloomsbury, 2021, p. 160-176. 




Nikolaos Olma
Driving in the shadows. Rural-urban labour migrants as informal taxi drivers in post-socialist Tashkent

In: Turaeva, Rano; Urinboyev, Rustamjon (Ed.). Labour, Mobility and Informal Practices in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Power, Institutions and Mobile Actors in Transnational Space. Routledge, 2021, p. 36-50.


Hilal Alkan
Temporal Intersections of Mobility and Informality: Simsars as (Im)moral Agents in the Trajectories of Syrian Refugees in Turkey and Germany

In: Migration Letters, 18, 2. Special Issue: Transnational (Im)-mobilities and Informality in Europe, p. 201-213.

ZMO in the Media

Niamey coopère pour neutraliser les rebelles tchadiens du FACT


Interview with Abdoulaye Sounaye

Deutsche Welle, 29 April 2021.


India's struggle with Covid-19


 Interview with Nitin Sinha.

Deutsche Welle News, 26 April 2021.

A similar interview with N. Sinha on this topic
from 27 April can be viewed


Factory of Fear


Podcast with Noura Chalati.

Branch 251, Syrian Atrocity Crimes On Trial , 16 April 2021.


Dschidda ist anders


Review of Ulrike Freitag's monograph "A History of Jeddah".

zenith 15 April 2021.





Review of Sarah Jurkiewicz's edited volume on refugee women in Berlin-Marzahn.

leibniz, 6 April 2021.

Die Leibniz-Gemeinschaft verlost drei Exemplare des Buches, Einsendeschluss ist der 15.5.2021!


Glühstrümpfe und ich

Article by Silke Nagel.

Archivspiegel,  12 April 2021.




Rahina Muazu appointed a visiting lecturer and a research associate at Harvard Divinity School


Rahina Muazu (associated research fellow at ZMO) will start her one-year-position in August 2021. At Harvard she will work on "The Female Voice in the Qurʾan and Qurʾan Commentary: Rereading verse 33:32 from a Gender Perspective" and teach a course with the title "Gender, Islam and Debates surrounding Female Vocal Nudity in West Africa (Nigeria and Niger)".

Nico Putz receives prize for his MA thesis on Naxalite movements


ZMO student assistant Nico Putz has been granted funding for his MA thesis by the Berliner Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft e. V. and the Erhard Höpfner Stiftung. He is writing his thesis at HU Berlin on "The global sixties in India - Reflections on networks and perception of the Naxalite movement".




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